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What is a Calorie Deficit?

A calorie deficit is how many more calories your body is burning (resting metabolic rate + activity like exercise, chores, walking, etc.) than you are taking in (through nutrition).
A calorie is simply a unit of energy. When you eat calories, your body will either use them immediately, or store them as glycogen or fat to use as energy later on. When we have a surplus of these stores, we gain weight.
When you see that say an energy bar or drink contains say 250 calories, it’s a way of describing how much energy your body could get from consuming that food or drink. 
There are 3 ways that we can achieve a calorie deficit:
  1. by eating fewer calories
  2. by using more calories through activity
  3. a combination of eating fewer calories, and being more active


It’s important to understand that although a calorie deficit created through eating less calories, or burning more calories will typically result in weight loss, there are some factors that can make it more difficult. Several things can affect your body weight, overall weight loss, and your energy needs. Some of these are: 
  • changes in hormones
  • body composition
  • your age
  • sleep hygiene 
  • stress 
  • food quality

A healthy way to create a calorie deficit is with a combination of eating fewer calories throughout the day, and adding in more activity. Here's a few benefits of going this route. 


This smaller calorie deficit may result in slower weight loss, however, it will be much easier to sustain long-term! In other words... no more yo-yo dieting.


When you optimize nutritional intake and engage in an exercise program that includes resistance training, you end up with higher caloric intake and a lower weight and leaner body composition.

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